We have indeed been living in a ‘phygital’ world for several years. In 2020 when the pandemic forced all viewings to go online, agencies were scrambling to make changes so that business could continue. While the rules have lifted and business can return to normal, you will find buyers and sellers have different expectations than they did just three short years ago.
Along with the pandemic affecting the changes, the swing in the age of buyers since 2020 has also changed clients expectations. In 2022, 40% of homebuyers were in the age bracket of 18-34. These GenY and GenX buyers are set to be over 50% of the market by 2025 and not only want but expect a phygital experience.
Let’s get into what a phygital experience is and how to use it in your business.
The term ‘phygital’ refers to the combination of physical and digital experiences. The word popped up in the last few years, but this concept isn’t new. The changes to your customers’ needs and expectations are what make this more important than ever. It is not as simple as having a templated website with a contact us page anymore. The phygital experience involves creating an environment that enables customers to interact with a business both online and in person. The goal is to create a seamless customer experience that is both convenient and enjoyable.
What does that mean for the digital side of things?
1. Currently, your website should include sections that are made for each customer type you have with the services you offer and why you will help them best – most agents have this already!
2. You should have answers to questions, and knowledge about the area as well, so that you are a resource to your community.
3. You should already be nurturing your clients with up-to-date information that is easy and enjoyable to read or watch. Whether that’s through newsletters, blogs or journeys (preferably all of the above!), is dependent on the technology you have of course.
4. Overall, you need a sleek digital experience where you are taking part in the digital conversation. Take a look at my blog about the digital conversation for more information on this click here.
Advanced technology will allow you to provide a phygital and automated experience that includes things like knowing who the person visiting your website is and having a custom site for them when they arrive. It will also automatically nurture the clients based on who they are (first time buyer? Investors?) and what they are looking for. It’s important the nurturing is specific to be successful.
The physical part of the experience is your office and the experience you provide when going to the client’s home.
Key things to remember about this:
1. Traditional offices are a thing of the past as most GenY and GenXers will walk by. Instead, many estate agencies are switching from the old window cards to eye-catching and dynamic windows – some have designed rooms with lush furnishings. Other agencies now have window paintings they change quarterly. Others have dog water bowls outside for walker-bys and have posted an invitation to come in for fresh water for yourself, encouraging interaction. This gets people in the door and makes a statement to remember. If you decide to stick with window cards, every one should have a QR code that links to the property website.
2. Once people are through the door, creating an entertaining and engaging experience while remaining helpful and educational is the goal. A successful example of the combination of creating a phygital experience is using tablets to register people when they come through the door.
As technology grows, so will your experience but cutting-edge technology is being used right now. There are agencies who provide the currently unique experience of using virtual reality headsets for tours right in the office – making this a convenient and fun way to experience a multitude of properties without the additional work or hassle of viewing each one physically. Once the clients have narrowed down their options, viewings become much easier and more successful.
When your team visits a home, you want to make that an experience to remember. Some agents are shaking things up with the way they dress – ditching formal suits or ties with casual dress which mirrors their customers and makes them more comfortable. Others bring digital contracts on tablets and other needed information with them to create a sleek experience – remember immediacy is important! Some agents are using the technology to show their potential vendors and landlords just how many potential applicants they have ready and waiting for a home like theirs to go on the market.
Regardless of whether you feel any of the examples I spoke about are right for your business, having a sleek phygital experience is the future and can be customised to fit your brand. If you aren’t taking the time to create this experience, someone else in your market is or will be shortly. You can’t afford to wait. Match your customers’ expectations by creating a phygital experience so that your agency can continue to flourish well into the future.